Saturday, February 19, 2005

Krista's Essay

Krista, my niece, has given me permission to publish her essay that provided the questions in my last post. I find it especially refreshing when young people seek answers for issues in their Christian life. Krista is a senior in Ebenezer Mennonite School and will graduate this spring. Read, think, and learn.

Krista L. Good
January 20, 2005

A common question discussed and argued among our Mennonite circles is what our responsibility is to missions as wealthy Americans. What is a mission? Where are missions? Can we have missions in our own backyards? Do we have to go to another country to be on a mission field? How do we know if God has called us to be missionaries at home or to be missionaries in a far off country? Are the phrases "Missionaries are needed at home" and "Someone needs to stay home to support other missionaries" legitimate reasons or just excuses?
These questions and more have plagued and hounded me as I have searched for my purpose here in life. Why did God put me where He did? Am I to just live my life here in wealthy America and be grateful for what I have? Or am I to share what I have and know of the gospel to those around me and in far away countries? Christ has called all of us to a life of being witnesses and missionaries no matter where we live. We are to be the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)
Having grown up on a mission field, I believe that everyone would profit greatly from a term of service in a foreign land. It's a life changing experience. It puts a different perspective on life. We sometimes compare what we have or don't have to what others have here in America and can feel really poor. But if only we could see the poverty materially and spiriturally in third world countries! Many people have next to nothing and are searching for help. Are we Christians going to be there for them?
Don't get me wrong. I do believe we have a mission field here at home. But are we sure that God is calling us to forever live here? Many people take Acts 1:8b, "And ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth", to say that we are to start our mission field at home and work our way out. That maybe what that verse is saying, but sometimes I wonder if people don't get stuck on the "in Jerusalem" or the at home part and forget to move on. Why do we have such a large concentration of Mennonites in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana? Couldn't at least the Mennonites in America spread out a bit? It seems that with all the Mennonites there are in America, someone would be willing to go on the mission field. But instead Mission Board Members have to work like crazy to find people willing to go to the mission field. While we're enjoying our beautiful homes, nice vehicles, clean clothes, plentiful food, fresh water, indoor plumbing, many souls die everyday without having a chance to hear the Gospel. How can we sit by and simply enjoy all that we have while others are suffering materially and spiritually? What are we doing when the offering plate is passed at church for missions? Are we really doing our job of "supporting the missionaries"? Or are we just dropping in a few dollars and saving the rest to buy a new gun or furniture? How are we living our lives here at home? Are we really "being missionaries at home"?
Hebrews 11:25 says that Moses would rather "suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." Now maybe living here in America isn't sin, but could it become sin if we aren't obeying Christ's Command to witness to the world? Can we be willing to suffer persecution and imprisonment at the hand of Communist leaders in order to encourage believers and to spread the Gospel to the millions of desperate souls in China? Can we be willing to face death in order to reach the millions of lost souls in Muslim countries?
Life is so short here on earth. Let's do what counts for the Kingdom of Heaven. In heaven we won't be rewarded for who has the most guns or who has the nicest furniture or who dresses the best or who drives the nicest vehicle. We will be rewarded for the acts of service we do for Christ and for the persecutions and hardships we endure in His name. (End of Essay)
Well, what do you think of Krista's questions, can you answer them for YOURSELF! I have done much thinking on MY answers since I first read this essay. Though Krista doesn't answer all the questions she asks, she does make us THINK, and that is the important part of this essay. When we have soul piercing questions, such as these, it is God softening our hearts to enable us to respond to the Holy Spirit's presence in our lives in order to accomplish His work. Ponder these questions carefully, let God speak to you, then go to work in His vineyard. Blessings will flow!
Until next time and as God wills, may His peace be with you, Truthseeker.